What was it you wanted to ask me?
Jen rode the shiver as it traveled up her spine. Staring down at the shine of the lights reflecting off the silver blade, she wondered where to begin. How to begin. She'd had so many questions yesterday, and even more today. But it all came down to one. One question. One hesitation. One insecurity.
Her thoughts jumbled together in a mix of memories and emotions, a waking nightmare as it flooded back, reflected in the shine of the dagger's sharp edge.
She'd been so lucky with Nichols gun. Didn't really have to aim it, and damn near fell on her ass when she tried. She just squeezed the trigger and closed her eyes. It wasn't until she heard the clicking that she realized it was done. It was over. And she stood there – just stood there like an idiot staring at the dead body – hoping to god it really was dead. Not even thinking about the fact that there could be more. More of them and she'd gone and emptied the gun. No more bullets.
Then Shara cried out – her pain, her fear – cutting the silence and bringing it all back into the present. She couldn't stop. Couldn't break. She was needed. They needed her help. No one else could help, could deliver the baby. She jumped from Shara, to the baby, to Captain Boyd, trying to save them. Praying she could save them all. She packed it all away and moved on.
The knife looked so clean now. So new. So… untarnished. There was no sign of the blood. The Wraith blood. The Wraith would feed on Zeeman and then surly turn to her next. She couldn't run – already having sprained her ankle. She had no other choice. She'd panicked. Had no weapon to grab this time. Nothing to use to save Captain Zeeman except the knife she'd tucked into her boot. Ronon's knife She'd reacted. Lashed out. She could still hear the screeching sound of the Wraith's furious scream when she'd imbedded the knife through the back of it's feeding hand and twisted frantically.
Ronon's blurry looking hand landed across hers, covering her fingers, covering the blade, breaking the visions with a violent snap. She slowly realized the reason she couldn't see clearly was due to the tears trailing down her cheeks. Seeing his hand, feeling his warmth, his strength, so close, so protective, somehow made it break.
Her sniff broke the silence.
"Damn it." She cursed the unstoppable tears. Cursed her weakness. Wiped madly at her eyes with the back of her hand.
Ronon removed the blade from between her fingers, and she finally let it go.
The bed shifted as he moved away, leaving her body to beg for the heat and security that suddenly disappeared. But his hand remained on her shoulder – his assurance that he wasn't leaving, he wasn't going away. He stepped in front of her, lowering himself quickly onto the bed on her opposite side. With his back against the wall, he reached forward, pulling her onto his lap, his arms tucking her against him. She shuddered into his warmth, burying her face against his chest.
"Hey." Ronon whispered into her hair after a few moments of silence. "You're okay."
She straightened and turned to face him, swiping away the tears, leaving her cheeks damp, her eyes fraught with emotion.
"I killed him…" She finally said, her voice quiet. "It. Him."
He tightened his arms and pulled her tightly in, laying his cheek against the top of her head. He could not truly understand what it must have taken for someone of her ilk to be the one to deliberately extinguish a life. Even a Wraith. It was something that never should have happened. She'd been around death – probably more than she'd ever admit. But to be the direct cause? It was an innocence she should never have lost, and would never get back.
"You had no choice." He said firmly.
"No." He cut her off with a quick shake of his head, his chin rubbing across the top of her head. "You had no choice, Jennifer. It was him, or you. What do you call it on Earth? Personal… no self-defense?"
"You did what you had to do to protect yourself – and save lives." He continued softly. "It's what you do, Jennifer. You save lives. You saved five people by killing that Wraith. Your people. And a child. An infant, Jennifer. Never forget that."
She sagged against him in silence, twisting her fingers into the front of his shirt. After a few moments, she shook her head. Pushing lightly off him, she straightened, bringing her legs up closer to her chest. With one hand still fiddling with the front of his shirt, she toyed with the leather cord around his neck. He slowly tucked her hair in behind her ears, intrigued by the play of emotion across her face. In silence he waited, wishing he could hear what she was thinking. The emotions were easy to read, but he wished he could connect them as she was. Sadness and tears were slowly blinked away as she chewed her bottom lip. Then she released her lip and moved her eyes to a spot somewhere at the base of his neck. Then her brow furrowed and her tongue darted out then quickly disappeared. Tilting her head, she raised her eyebrows ever so slightly, her eyes darting first right, then left, then back to the right again. She lifted her chin, her head still leaning to the side as her eyes flickered up to meet his.
And with a suddenly clear expression, she straightened, her palms flattening against his chest.
"It's how you do it, isn't it?" She finally asked. "By saving people."
He blinked. "Me?"
She nodded. "I don't know if I really understood before."
She hesitated again, suddenly unsure.
"Understood what?" He prompted.
"How you don't go insane." She said, then smiled slightly with a soft snort. "Sorry. That didn't come out right."
"Actually," He tilted his head. "It made perfect sense."
She shook her head. "I don't know. I just… I can't think straight right now. I keep seeing it… him… it's all jumbled up with the gunfire, and the explosions, and the baby. That beautiful little baby. It gives me a headache just thinking about it."
She trailed off, letting her thought die off in the silence.
"Why did you return to the planet?" He finally asked.
"Shara." She said simply. "The baby was in distress. They both could have died. I came back for supplies. Not that I was able to use them anyway."
"But you were injured. Why didn't you send someone else?"
"I won't ask someone to do something I'm capable of doing. I had to go back. She needed me."
The words sliced through him. She'd returned to a Wraith targeted planet because a stranger needed her. He'd pushed her away because she'd needed him. Because he'd been worried he needed her to much. If she'd stayed for him, would she have left to help a stranger and nearly gotten herself killed? Probably not. Maybe.
He'd never know.
And he may have lost his chance to ever find out. After the way he'd reacted, she may never try again. That single thought cut him more deeply than he'd ever thought possible.
"I'm sorry." He swallowed hard.
She didn't immediately respond, but he saw a tiny crease appear above her eyes.
"I was angry." He answered, his arms tensing in their desire to pull her closer.
"You mean in your room?" She shook her head slowly. "No. That was my fault. I was way out of bounds."
"No." He shook his head, his tone stronger. "I was not… calm. I took it out on you."
She shifted slightly, moving her hips around so she was watching him more directly. Her position, so intimately pressed into his lap was starting to take its toll and he inhaled. The memory of how badly he'd wanted her, and how badly he still wanted her, was beginning to warm his blood. But her refusal to accept his part in the entire mess was starting to warm something else. His anger.
"Ronon." She shook her head, her eyes wide. "I overstepped. I just wanted to ask you a question and should have waited outside."
"Jennifer." He growled. "You're not the one who was wrong. I told you if you ever needed me you were welcome. I was… angry, yes. But not at you."
Her cool fingers suddenly covered his mouth and he felt a twist rising through his abdomen, crushing sudden though of grabbing them with his mouth.
"Ronon." She growled back at him, leaving him fighting a smile at her attempt to be gruff. She slowly removed her fingers. "I invaded your personal space and it wasn't fair. You had every right to be upset and angry with me. It won't happen again. I promise."
"Damn it, woman! Would you just let me apologize?" He ordered, his hands moving to wrap around her upper arms. "You startled me! I could have killed you! And to top it all off you disappeared to a damn Wraith infested planet without me. You have no idea what that thought is doing to me."
Her eyes fell, chastised, and he wished he could take it back.
"I'm sorry." She apologized, her voice soft with sincerity, her fingers dropping away from his chest to land in her lap.
Then he felt her body jump lightly, almost a hiccup, and when he looked closer, he noted she was fighting a smile.
The giggle turned into a laugh.
"Jennifer…" He growled, trying not to get caught up in the infectious draw of her amusement.
She looked up, her face breaking behind a smile.
"I startled you." She snickered, covering her mouth with her hand, but the laughter escaped and she let it out, clasping her hands around her middle. "I'm sorry but that's just damn funny!"
He gaped, completely taken aback.
"You should see your face." She laughed harder, tears falling again but this time she didn't bother to stop them. The harder she laughed, the more she cried. At one point she wasn't even making any noise, just rocking back and forth in his arms, gasping for air, the tears freely falling. By the time the laughter, or the crying – he still wasn't sure which it was – abated, she was draped almost completely across him, her body limp with exertion.
He stared down into her face, her cheeks flushed and shining, and shook his head in wonder.
The woman was completely insane. He couldn't even begin to fathom how her mind worked, and after everything… everything… she was laughing because she'd gotten the jump on him?
Sheppard was right.
Women were illogical no matter what end of the universe they were from.
Ronon had absolutely no idea how to even answer her. Or if he should answer her. Was he supposed to be angry? Upset? Pleased? Or… Ah, well. What did it matter?
She was here.
She was safe.
And he wasn't about to let her go.
She turned her head and settled against him, tightening her grip around his waist. "I'm sorry, Ronon." She hiccupped into the side of his neck. "I'm not making fun of you. I'm just… I'm so brain dead I don't know what I'm saying. I… I think I just need some sleep. Come back in a few hours and I promise to let you yell at me all you want."
He snorted and adjusted his arms around her. He wasn't going anywhere.
A few minutes later she muttered something and twisted sideways, curling into a ball in his lap and burying her face against his neck. Swiping his hand over the light control on the table beside her bed, he dropped the room into darkness. Shifting positions, he slowly slid himself down the bed and pulled her along with him. He gently tucked her against his side, and hooking her blanket with his foot he covered her body, tucking the covers lightly around her.
She burrowed sleepily against him, her head on his shoulder. Snaking her arm out from beneath the blanket, she splayed her fingers on his chest. He reached up and covered her hand with his, pressing her palm against his heat, her skin soft and cool.
"Ronon?" She whispered softly.
"Stay?" Her plea pulled at his heart. "Just 'til I fall asleep?"
"I'm not going anywhere." He pledged softly, his fingers squeezing hers.
She inhaled slowly then sighed, her body slumping further.
"Jennifer?" He whispered into her hair, wondering if she was still awake.
"Hmm?" She answered, her chest rising with a deep, slow breath.
"Yesterday, when you came to see me. What was your question?"
She shook her head, mumbling against his chest. "Not important."
She yawned. "I know now."
"Know what?" He prompted softly.
She nuzzled her nose against his side. "How to kill a Wraith."
His breath caught. "What?
"That's what I wanted to ask you. How you're supposed to kill them. Anything specific. You know, like zombies or vampires. Chop off their head or um… steak to the heart. Silver bullet."
"That's what you wanted to ask me."
"You wouldn't laugh."
He blinked up into the darkness. He wouldn't laugh? No. He wouldn't have laughed. He would have demanded answers, and forced her to stay behind – or stay behind him. Either way she wouldn't have returned to the planet without him. Which brought out a second question, one he needed to voice.
"Why didn't you ask me to come with you?"
She shrugged. "Too dangerous."
His head shot up off the pillow. "What?"
She snorted, turning her hand to thread her fingers through his, her knuckles grazing the skin over his heart.
"You're crazy, you know that?" He shook his head.
"Promise me something."
"Next time you get the urge to go traipsing around a Wraith infested planet, you'll at least tell me first?"
"And if you toss me out before I can?"
"I hear you're good with a knife. Use it."
She snorted. "Yeah, but then I'd feel all guilty… and have to stitch you up."
He grinned up at the ceiling.
"Go to sleep."
Author's Note - Well there you have it. Questions asked, and answers given. :P Thank you for coming along on this little plot-bunny ride with me! :) I hope you enjoyed it! I'm thinking the knife may come up again in another story because I feel another plot bunny coming on. :) Apologies for any typo's - it's after 1am and I'm a little sleepy! G'nite all, and have a fab week! So, until the next story, I'll say ciao! - Nika